Tent-Pegging: The other equestrian sport

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Tent Pegging

When the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games came to the United States, American horse enthusiasts became well-versed in the eight equestrian disciplines that were included there. But did you know that the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) recognizes two other horse sports as regional disciplines? Although they haven’t quite gained the international following of the more mainstream disciplines, horseball and tent-pegging are recognized and governed by the FEI and have a wide following in some parts of the world.

In tent-pegging competition, riders charge at a full gallop across a straight course 130-200 meters long holding a lance or sword. The weapon is used to pick up wooden or cardboard pegs stuck in the ground. The pegs are placed 1 meter or 2.5 meters apart, depending on the specific event. Riders must cross the course at a designated speed with half a penalty point taken for each second over the allotted time.

Riders earn six points for each peg carried at least 10 meters when using cardboard or 15 meters when using wood. Removing a peg, but not carrying it the full distance earns four points. Striking a peg on the face but not dislodging it from the ground is worth two points.

There are several variations on the sport to add different challenges for riders. Variations include rings and peg, where riders must spear two rings before a single peg, and lemons and peg where sword-wielding riders slice hanging fruits before taking a peg.

Like many equestrian disciplines, tent-pegging traces its origins to warfare. The most commonly-accepted history of the sport finds its beginnings with cavalry soldiers who fought troops mounted on elephants in India in the Middle Ages. The soldiers found that the only way to incapacitate the armored elephants was to spear them in the toe, and tent-pegging was established as a training method for this battle tactic. The name of the sport comes from a less-likely origin story where cavalry riders would raid enemy camps before dawn, galloping through and removing the tent pegs with their spears.

Today, tent-pegging is most popular in India and Pakistan, but has spread to Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and around Asia and the Middle East. The sport hasn’t quite caught on in North America, although Team Canada had fairly recent success, winning the 2007 and 2008 International Championships in Oman and India, respectively.

To learn more about tent-pegging, visit ustpf.org.

Tomorrow: A look at horseball.

15 COMMENTS

  1. This game sounds alot like one of the games our club would play, where we would spear a ring placed at different heights, and areas. It was fun and need skills.

  2. I am 20. And i mastered tent pegging when i was 16, in my high school in Pakistan. Now i’m in USA. And unfortunately nobody plays it here. I wish i had somebody to play it with here.

  3. possibly the best sport to be tried by myself
    after looking at several sports this is one of the most exciting things i have tried
    with out being fully committed this allows me to train a horse within a period of time that is achievable for most people
    and maintain it with a small effort
    i have heard it called ballet on horse back
    or my favourite would be high speed dressage

  4. Hello Mohammad and other,
    My name is Dr. Asim S. Malik and I have read most of the comments and glad to know that many others in the US who know about the sport and want to establish it.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, I am seriously working toward registering’ “Tent Pegging” as a sport in the USA. As per my knowledge until 2004 this sport was recognized in the US but after 2004 I don’t see any activity regarding this sport.
    Well, if you all who are interested, please email me back to me and let us put up a plan to move forward and register this event as a equestrian sport in the US once again. Any thoughts?
    My email is Asim.Malik@qlty-plus.com

  5. Hello Ali from Houston, TX
    It is pleasure to know that you are trying to establish a tent pegging team out of Houston, TX. My name is Dr. Asim S. Malik; I am from Tulsa, OK. I am also trying to establish a tent pegging team and a non-profit tent pegging federation under the name; United States Tent Pegging Federation. I have already secured the name in OK and in process for registering. Please contact me via email: Asim.Malik@qlty-plus.com. Thanks

  6. Message to All:
    Those who are the Tent Pegging fans and residing in the U.S.; if interested in learning tent pegging as sport or those interested in resuming their Tent Pegging practices; please contact me.
    At present, I am in process to establish an organization for Tent Pegging in the United States. My contact information is as follow: Asim.Malik@sbcglobal.net or Asim.Malik@qlty-plus.com
    Dr. Asim S. Malik

  7. Great to see this article on Horse channel. Tentpegging is a fantastic sport; it provides challenge and excitement but, with the right training, is accessible to riders of all ages and a wide range of horses. If you are interested in looking at tentpegging a in the UK, and maybe getting involved, here is a link to a short film showing of the skills of Sussex Peggers Riding club http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNde7gVYwoI You can contact the club via the website http://www.sussexpeggers.com/index.shtml

  8. A Tent Pegging organization has been established in the United States under the name, “United States Tent Pegging Federation, In. (USTPF) from the state of Oklahoma. USTPF invite all the interested to join the federation for backup for establishing the tent pegging clubs or associations in your states or cities. Please see the link http://www.worldtentpegging.com/news/

  9. Tent pegging being primarily a foreign game from the Indian subcontinent, is not very popular in the US. As a need of present times, with tent pegging being played in many countries around the world, USTPA came into existence to promote tent pegging in USA and represent USA internationally in the equine sport of tent pegging.
    USTPA was formed by efforts of tent peggers and enthusiasts living in USA and abroad.
    USTPA is the FIRST founding body to represent USA in tent pegging internationally and the FIRST to wave the US flag in tent pegging overseas.
    ‘USTPA’ is also the oldest registered trademark for promotion of tent pegging in USA and abroad.
    To carry on day to day business of organizing tent pegging in USA and abroad, USTPA, Inc. is the registered entity in USA with US Tent Pegging Association as applied dba.
    USTPA is for taking USA on fast gallop in tent pegging with pegs in the cross hairs.
    Welcome to USTPA!
    USTPA made history in 2013!
    USTPA participated in the 2013 World Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship and put USA on the world Tent Pegging map for the first time in history.
    During the conclusion this world championship, WTPF (now ITPF) was founded with USTPA being one of its founding member countries.
    2014
    2015
    USTPA is the official invitee of EFI and is slated to participate in the 2015 Asian & International Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship.
    USTPA has what it takes for team USA to play international.
    Email to apply to play in the upcoming 2015 Asian & International Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship.
    ustentpegging@gmail.com
    http://www.ustpa.us

  10. In 2003 the North American International Military Horse Show was held at Ft Reno, Oklahoma. Riders from England, Europe and the US competed in Skill At Arms, Lance and Sword Tent Pegging and Show Jumping. This was the first formal equestrian competition focused on Tent Pegging in the United States since 1939. The event resulted in the formation of the United States Tent Pegging Association which was formally recognized in 2004, this organization was recognized internationally and by the USEF. I am well aware of these matters as I produced the show in 2003 and became President of the USTPA in 2004. I am now VP of the USTPF and we will continue to see this sport grow in the Americas.
    Ron Smith

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